Australians, you’re doing it wrong

An Australian town is being overrun with tumbleweeds. They’re complaining.

This is exactly wrong. You treat tumbleweeds laconically. You gaze at them all flinty-eyed, and at most you might shift your toothpick from one side of your mouth to the other. Bonus points if you do that while listening to an Ennio Morricone soundtrack.

There. Problem solved.


  1. Brian E says

    Yeah-but, this isn’t a desert area, and they’re not tumbleweeds a la Leone. Really it’s a story about urbanization into what was recently farmland and the complaints that follow…
    Australians love to claim that the outback is our place, unless it gets hot, dusty or the bloody snakes and spiders get to close, then fuck that! Panic! (On a personal note, I walk with my kids down by the local river just outside Melbourne and we keep disturbing a brown snake which looks just like the photo in the link. Poor bugger, first time he panicked that bad he fled to the water, and waited for us to leave, and after a minute had to bob up and take a breath. All the while I was cursing my iPhone 4 for not loading the camera app quickly enough for a shot… The next time we were in the same area, the bugger fled as I walked passed it. He could’ve bitten me, and after the way I’d gone paparazzi on him I’d have understood. Being one of the more deadly animals you’ll encounter, that would’ve been it for me, but against claims of being aggressive, it fled).

    But you got to love Latin. Pouring panic (Effusum = pouring?), whatever….

  2. Cuttlefish says

    I’m confused. If it is Australian tumbleweed, shouldn’t it be deadly poisonous or something?

  3. dannorth says

    To someone used to shovelling snow in the Canadian winter their complaints do seem a bit wimpy.

    PZ your thoughts?

  4. blf says

    If it is Australian tumbleweed, shouldn’t it be deadly poisonous or something?

    They are an aggressive natural Rover — albeit I don’t think they live at the bottom of the sea — who chase you down and devour you.

  5. rrhain says

    If it can float through the air, it isn’t “tumbleweed.” Them silly Australians with their different words for everything. Looks more like mutant dandelion seeds.

    I used to live in Las Vegas. I know from tumbleweeds. Had one grow so large it literally blocked the street and no, you couldn’t drive your car through it.

    I do recall playing Pictionary once with my friend and her mother. My friend was drawing for me and her mother was certain I’d never get the word, which was “tumbleweed.” My friend drew two long lines with a dashed line in the middle and then a giant squiggle and the words out of my mouth as she was doing this were: “OK, we’ve got parallel lines, and a road, and a tumbleweed.” Mom was shocked. “How did you figure that out?” Well, what else would a tangle by the side of the road be?

    That said, how can a pile of dry vegetation two meters high not be considered a fire hazard? The El Nino here in Southern California has brought much needed rain, but it means the desert is going to bloom (speaking of tumbleweeds) and with the following La Nina, we’re gonna have a dry summer and a nasty fire season come fall.

  6. flashman2297 says

    Don’t you Americans know anything. Its how Yowies and Drop Bears move from one location to another to attack all our poisonous snakes, spiders and unsuspecting American tourists.

  7. llyris says

    rrhain @11

    how can a pile of dry vegetation two meters high not be considered a fire hazard?

    Because it doesn’t explode with hate like eucalypts? After releasing a heap of volatile oil into the air? That lovely blue haze all summer, that’s explosive oil. Smells wonderful.
    I would guess that it is very loose packed, catches fire easily enough but doesn’t get very hot and burns out quickly. Not very dangerous really when you compare it to exploding trees.

  8. chigau (違う) says

    I was in Australia once.
    I’d like to go back.
    But srslyOMG

    really, there is nothing in that country that’s not trying to kill you

    jeeez exploding trees

  9. Lofty says

    When I went to high skool 40ya, Australia’s population was around 14 million. Last Tuesday it officially passed 24 million. Clearly there aren’t enough extremely poisonous things in this country to keep the numbers down. Most critters’ bites just cause limbs to swell up for a while.

    Ow! Gerroff! (Gets bite cream).

  10. rq says

    Speaking of drop bears:

    “We can be confident now and say that they could climb.

    “And if they could climb really well in the dark, underground, there’s no reason they couldn’t climb trees.

    “They would have been a very significant threat to people when they first arrived in Australia.

    Now, they don’t actually come out and say it, but I think the conclusion is pretty clear, don’t you?

  11. Nick Gotts says

    An Australian town is being overrun with tumbleweeds. They’re complaining.

    Cheerful, happy-go-lucky tumbleweeds are one thing – complaining tumbleweeds, quite another!

  12. quotetheunquote says

    @dannoth #3

    +1. I’d like to trade them their weeds for one day of Ontario snow; I can do without the redbacks, though.

  13. Crimson Clupeidae says

    If you waded into a pile of Arizona tumbleweeds like that, you’d be bleeding. They are quite thorny and tough.

    The outback’s got nuthin’ on the Sonoran desert I love so much. :-D